Sunday, November 07, 2010

Gummint Railroads

Well, well. History helps...if you read it.

The Crédit Mobilier charged the railroad tens of millions of dollars more than the actual cost of construction, all of which went right into the pockets of the men who were supposedly running the Union Pacific. By the time they were done, they’d cleared at least $23 million (and perhaps considerably more), and the UP was on the verge of bankruptcy. Everyone who had invested in the railroad but not the construction company found themselves with nearly worthless securities on their hands. --Rosenberg quoting Surowiecki/New Yorker

But hey! It was 'shovel-ready.'

Side-note: Abe Lincoln also made a fortune with somewhat.....ahhhh.......smelly railroad deals.


Anonymous said...

Care to elaborate on Abraham Lincoln's misdeeds with railroads during his lawyer days in Illinois in the 1850's?

You know, cite a source.

Dad29 said...

"Anyone who has deeply studied Lincoln, a political and literary genius, knows that he was a successful railroad lawyer while he was a state legislator…knows that he unfurled a map of Illinois on his desk in the House and bargained the routes of railroad lines across the state, making deals on what towns the trains would stop at…which he used to run for the U. S. Senate where he got more votes than Stephen A. Douglas (not that it did him any good as the legislatures in those days named U. S. senators and they picked Douglas). Remember there were no serious conflict of interest laws then binding state lawmakers.
"This is the same Abe Lincoln who when he was a presidential candidate hopped on a train solo to Council Bluffs, Iowa and bought up a scad of real estate there. Later as president when he got legislation through setting up cross-country railroads, the property ownership became valuable as Council Bluffs was a key centerpiece for the switching that sent trains throughout the country. Again, no conflict of interest laws hindered him…and to-boot Lincoln’s trip to Council Bluffs was paid by the railroads as he was a key attorney for many of them." --